“I'm one of the longest-serving employees in the Sri Lankan telecommunications industry,” says Sandra De Zoysa Chief Customer Officer at Dialog Axiata. De Zoysa has been a fixture of the Sri Lankan mobile industry for more than 30 years, and has worked as part of the Dialog family for over 24 of them. “Dialog is my home,” she says fondly, recalling the fact that the Dialog she joined in 1997 was, in many respects, a very different company to the one she works at today. “It was a very small organisation back then,” she remembers. “It was a tough time for the company, but Dialog Axiata entered the market with a digital offering at a time when all the other telcos were still using analog technology. We started off as a mobile phone operator, moved into quad-play beyond that. Now, as a digital telco operator we're involved in entertainment, education, mobile banking, advertising and more. We have so many different business channels now - all of which are growing and developing - we're so much more than a traditional mobile operator.”
Dialog Axiata’s growth, from a digital-focused upstart to Sri Lanka’s multi-channel market leader has been a remarkable journey, and De Zoysa has been a part of it since almost it’s inception. “I found it an interesting challenge to be working with a company that was the underdog,” she says. “Since I started working in the telecoms industry, my career has run alongside this amazing technological journey that the industry has been through. There was the evolution from 1G to 2G, 3G, 4G, and now 5G. Handsets themselves and their role in our lives have changed so much, and Dialog has been right in the forefront, changing with the times whilst keeping their customer promise, true to its tag line – “The Future. Today.”
While, in some ways, Dialog itself has changed dramatically over the past 28 years, De Zoysa reflects that the company’s focus on people has remained as one of its guiding constants and ascribes a great deal of Dialog’s success to that core value. “Our customer experience is a key reason why we are a market leader. Everyone at Dialog, from the leadership team throughout the company, wants to ensure that everything we do is done with the customer in mind, and that we work diligently to remain a customer-centric company,” she explains, adding that in her role as Chief Customer Officer, she also feels responsible for the satisfaction of the people working within the organisation itself.
“Our people are the most inimitable part of our proposition, kind of “the secret sauce” in our recipe to success here at Dialog. Technology, strategy and process are a close second,” she insists. “I want to always make sure that my people are happy because, if they aren't happy and they don't bring their best selves to work, then I don't think they can be passionate about serving customers. If we want to serve our customers well, then we need to make sure that the people that serve our customers are taken care of.”
De Zoysa completed her postgraduate studies in Digital Business Strategy with IMD Business School and Telecommunications Management from INSEAD, and a Customer Experience Management certification from Customer Professional Association USA (CXPA) and the Cranfield School of Management UK and is a certified Scrum Master and Lean Six Sigma Black Belt Practitioner who is currently busy writing her thesis for the Executive MBA from University of West London UK and pursuing a leadership program with HBS. Prior to joining Dialog in 1997, she worked at Sri Lanka’s first mobile operator, Celltel between 1989 and 1992, and then at SingTel owned call-link from 1992 to 1997. Sandra is a Director of Dialog Business Services. She is a Founding member and currently serves and vice chairperson of SLASSCOM, the national IT- and Knowledge Services Chamber and a founding member and Board Director of the Women’s Chamber for Digital Sri Lanka. She is a founding member and past vice president of the Sri Lankan Institute of Service Management. She is also an avid global speaker and a visiting lecturer at the University of Colombo School of Computing since 2009.
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